Moon jellyfish: What to expect when you’re expecting a moon jellyfish!

Buying your first moon jellyfish…

Moon jellyfish

A new moon jellyfish in the home aquarium.

Moon jellyfish have been popular in public aquariums for well over a decade now, but are becoming more popular as pets with more jellyfish aquariums coming to market. So what should your expectations be for growing your own moon jellyfish at home? How long will your jellies live? What should you feed them? How often should you feed? Well, instead of reading the lame Yahoo answers page on buying jellyfish, consider some advice from a professional jellyfish aquarist first…

OK, rule number #1… jellyfish die. Yes, your moon jellyfish are going to perish eventually and they are probably going to do so sooner than you expect. Why? You’re new at this and moon jellyfish are seasonal animals, they bloom and die every year in the wild. Bottom line is don’t get too emotionally invested in jellyfish as their biology will disappoint you. (If you’re buying a jellyfish for your kids you’ll need to explain this in a friendlier manner!) Here’s the great part though… moon jellyfish in particular are known to live in captivity for a few years, given that exceptional care is provided. Even if you don’t provide exceptional care you can expect about a year out of your jellies with the right setup. Short lifespan aside, jellies make great pets for several reasons:

– They don’t tear up your house, pee on your couch or eat your socks

– They are relaxing to watch, some say meditative

– They are the most unique pet you’ll ever have!

Alright so you just got your new moon jellyfish… what the heck do you do with these things? Try not to squish them! You will learn very quickly how to handle your new jellies. While the bag or container they came in can handle some jolts and even shaking you cannot crush it. Treat the bag with care. Probably the first thing you’re going to want to do is feed your jellyfish. Don’t do that. Let your jellies acclimate. Wait a few hours until you can see that the jellies are in their groove. The golden rule of “flow” is that you want just enough water flow to keep the jellies off the bottom. The flow should not be rapidly spinning them around the tank! Once they’re settled in you can try feeding them.

How much should you feed them? Well, this one is harder to answer given the varieties of foods out there. A good starting point is half a teaspoon of brine shrimp cysts, let those hatch and feed them out to your jellies. The stomach pouches of the moon jellies should turn orange as they gather the brine shrimp. Remember to never put water from the brine hatch into your tank, rinse your brine shrimp first! That brine hatch water contains ammonia, bacteria and the pH has likely changed significantly.

What about other types of foods like Rotifeast, Golden Pearls and Otohime? You will need to find the best amounts for those on your own for your system. Always start with the smallest amount, otherwise if you make a mess you will need to siphon that out of the tank to avoid fouling. And siphoning in your jellyfish tank is hazardous. Don’t suck up your jellies!

OK, good first day/night with your jellies? Now how often should you feed them? Well, it is going to depend on a couple things… does your tank have filtration? How often do you want to change the water? If your tank has minimal or no filtration, then whenever you feed I recommend changing some water out the next day or a few hours after feeding. How much water you change depends on the system but it should be at least 10% of the total system volume. Sound like a pain in the butt? Doesn’t have to be. Buy a 55 gallon trashcan, dissolve your salt in a trashcan of RO/DI water and you have yourself easy access to a lot of clean salt water! Ultimately you will want to educate yourself on the basics of the nitrogen cycle, test for presence of ammonia and determine the best routine for your given setup.

How much work are moon jellyfish? For me they are a full time job, but for you they only need to take up about 5-10 minutes of your day for proper care. Again, this is going to depend on your setup. At first you will probably need to invest more time than that in order to learn your tank’s cycle and the feeding requirements of your jellies. Some tasks like feeding can now be automated thanks to the variety of auto-dosers available these days (we’ll visit this topic in depth in the future!).

How hard are moon jellyfish to grow at home? Jellyfish in the home do not require the same commitment as say a reef aquarium does since you are not trying to emulate a small living reef ecosystem. However raising jellyfish at home does require observation and attention to detail. Watching, and enjoying, your jellies will be the most important aspect of keeping them. If you’re watching them and appreciating them daily then you are going to notice any growth or changes which will ultimately make you a better jellyfish aquarist.

I hope this helps with some of your first questions about keeping these cool new pets!

About Wyatt

I am a professional jellyfish aquarist in the public aquarium industry. I have worked in marine animal husbandry since the age of 17, it was my first job. I love raising jellyfish, especially new species, and finding better ways of caring for them. Here, I hope to provide great ideas and product suggestions to help you create your own successful jellyfish displays.
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110 Responses to Moon jellyfish: What to expect when you’re expecting a moon jellyfish!

  1. Adrian Robinson says:

    Hi, Any idea where I can buy a moon jelly from please ???

  2. Javier Falcon says:

    I have a couple questions. Is it possible to make the tank from a round fish bowl? If sonany suggestions? Also how can you tell if a jellyfish is a boy or a girl?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Javier,

      Yes you can make a tank out of a large fish bowl using the same air lift method I describe on the site, it just won’t look as pretty because the airline will have to drop down the middle. Unless you drill into the bottom of the fish bowl and supply your air from underneath. You cannot tell the sex of the jellyfish without looking at the gonads under an observing scope. Large females usually have planulae larvae brooding in their oral arms.

  3. Mathew says:

    What kind of Pump/filtration system would you recommend for a 10 gallon tank?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Matthew, check out the other article on building your own DIY tank to see how to use an air lift. Most off the shelf filters are not going to be suitable for jellies.

  4. jamie says:

    Hay do you know if you can get jellyfish as pets in ireland and if so is a 2ft fish tank ok

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Jamie,
      Yes you will want to look up Jellyfish Concepts in France, they can probably ship to you. Check out the other articles on building your own DIY jelly tank.

  5. Victoria Daniell says:

    When it comes time to clean the tank should I have saved the bag the jellyfish came in???

  6. Katie Tilley says:

    hey there,
    I’m looking to buy my first moon jelly however have only done a small bit of reading so far. How do I know how much salt to add to my 60litre biorb to get the correct salinity? Also, is a biorb tank suitable to house them? It has a central water filter which I intend to buy a cap for to prevent them getting stuck. I have contacted a seller of moon jellyfish who advised this tank wouldn’t be suitable however have read elsewhere that actually it is, so confusing! Any help would be appreciated before I make a decision.
    Thanks 🙂
    Tilley

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Katie,
      Yes you can use a biorb tank, the salt all depends on the brand you use and volume of the tank so follow the directions on the salt package. I recommend using salt for reef aquariums. Look at some other DIY setups with the Biorb first to give you a good idea of how to set it up. Pretty sure there are some videos on YouTube.

  7. Hi we are a company that specialise in selling Jellyfish and their aquariums in the UK! visit our site at http://www.ukjellyfish.co.uk to find out more!

  8. paula says:

    hi, i seen a film recently, it showed a jelly fish tank containing 2 jelly fish, the tank was a big cylinder type shape vase and the water showed up a lovely blue, i would love to re-create this, so i have located a large vase measuring 30 inches high and 6 inches across, could you advise me on what i would need exactly to set up my own jelly fish tank from this, thankyou

  9. Kaylee says:

    I am thinking about getting a jelly for my apartment and don’t know what kind of tank to get. I already know that I want something small.

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Kaylee, the smallest is the Jellyfish Art tank which is 3 gallons. If you want to spend more you can get a 10 gal tank from either Sunset Marine Labs (Eon) or Reef Eden (Aurelia system)

  10. Aliyah says:

    Im thinking about getting a jelly for my home and I just have a few questions! How big does the tank have to be and where is the best place to buy one? What kind of tank? Also how many jellyfish do you recommend me buying?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Aliyah, the bigger tank the better. The more water volume you have, the more stable your water parameters will be so buy as much as you can afford. If you can’t afford much then a DIY tank may be your only option. There are a bunch of new tanks coming to market but they are still a ways out from being available in the US. You can take the basic principles from other DIY tanks here on jellfishaquarist.com to build your own. You should start with 3-5 jellies depending on the size of the tank. You can contact lwbaily@gmail.com for a deal on a Cubic tank…

  11. taina says:

    I have a jellyfish art tank but am looking fr other US suppliers loser to me, hopefully local (south florida). Are jellyfishart and pbnjellies.com the only sateside sellers?
    Also since I live on the florida coast can I start a jellyfish supply straight from the ocean?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Taina, you can always ask a local shop to help you get jellies and reduce shipping stress. Collecting wildlife in Florida likely requires some sort of permit and using wild jellies doesn’t really work too well, especially for a small tank like the JFA desktop tank. The jellies are just too big. You should checkout the jellyfishcare.com page about the JFA tank, it takes some tweaking to get it right. The tank is very small and is sensitive to ambient room temperature and may require a heater or air conditioned room depending on the needs of the jellies and where you live…

  12. taina says:

    I’m looking for a new supplier because I have bought jellies from some suppliers with most not surviving more than three months…it could be me, but if I was able to make my first order of jellies last three months and then have later orders die within a week or two i think it is the jellies or possibly shipping…

  13. Miss Cellany says:

    Tempted to make a jelly tank. Is it possible to grow sea grasses in a jelly tank or must the tank be bare bottom? Will sand hurt the jellyfish?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Wyatt says:

      Yes, of course, but you can really only keep jellies appropriate for that habitat – upside down jellies. Might be able to make it work for spotted or blubber jellies too but you would need to make sure the seagrass wasn’t trapping them or causing them to get stuck on the bottom.

  14. Trish Uzkurys says:

    I am looking to buy a few blue blubbers jellyfish and there does not seem to be anyone in the US to get them from. Do you have any suggestions? I have a cubic 80 jellyfish tank and am ready to start adding a few jellies and I can only find the moon jellies which I like but I was hoping for some contrast. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Trish, I’ve been wanting to bring in some blubbers for PBnJellies but there just hasn’t been enough demand yet, so stay tuned. You will not want to keep them with moon jellies though, the blubbers are fast swimmers and can pummel your moon jellies. In general you should avoid mixing different jelly species.

  15. molly says:

    Hey there! Has anyone asked you about the Groupon deal where you receive 3 moon jellies in a 6 gallon desktop tank? Wondering what you think about it. It’s on sale right now. Thanks so much for all the advice!
    Molly

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Molly,
      Sounds like the Jellyfish Art tank, I have never been able to get my hands on one. People have certainly had success with them, I think they require a lot more attention than most customers expect. Check out jellyfishcare.com to learn more about that tank. Cheers!

  16. Hamed says:

    I want to set up an big tank for both fish and jellyfish , I just waana know if the jellyfish die it has a harmful effect on the other fish or not? due to I heard about they are a bit toxic.

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Hamed, I do not recommend keeping fish and jellyfish together. The only species you can do this with is Cassiopea, the upside down jelly. There is a list of compatible species here on Jellyfish Aquarist…

  17. Nia Canady says:

    what is the min. size tank for a jelly fish

  18. Ariane says:

    Hi I’m in Australia, where do you suggest I could buy a jellyfish from?

  19. chan sambo says:

    Dear All
    I was in Cambodia , I looking for company or shop that want to buy raw jelly fish salt Jelly Fish because in my country didn’t have any company to run on that business.

    Please help to advise and introduce me.

    You can contact me buy mail : chan.sambo@yahoo.com
    Tel: (855)12290060.
    skpe : chan.sambo

    I hope that I god feedback from all of you.

    Best Regard
    Chan Sambo

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Chan, you will want to contact Exotic Aquaculture in Hong Kong… they are probably closest to you. Aqua Sentinel is in Malaysia too…

  20. Nadia H says:

    I bought 2 Blue blubber jellyfish from Subang International Aquatics. 3 months later all perished. I did everything (as above) that was required to maintained them.
    Nitrates were zero and pH were consistent. Filtration was done via an external filter with no possibility of causing damaged to any inhabitants. Temperature was maintained without any problem.
    We changed 10% weekly with real seawater from the same vendor who is an importer and exporter.
    They were fed branded planktons and rotifers.
    Unfortunately, they eventually withered in my 50 liter tank. Sigh

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Nadia, blubber jellies can be challenging. They do not typically last longer than 3 months so I think you did quite well! They like to eat smaller prey, like rotifer sized plankton, so foods like Rotifeast and Oysterfeast are probably going to be best. Brine shrimp can actually be too big for them.

  21. anouminous says:

    Hi I live in Pennsylvania and I went to Baltimore to see the national aquarium and I want to get some moon jellies but I have no idea where to get them

  22. anouminous says:

    Also can a fish tank also work for these jellies?

  23. Beth says:

    Hi one of my moon jellies inside part is spinning slowly as it pulses, and it is more bell shaped than the others. They are fed Enriched brine shrimp, but this ones gonads are purple rather than the Orange the others are. Can you offer any insight or advice?

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Beth, I’m not sure what you mean… there is a free part inside that is spinning? Like something has become detached? Or is it a hyperiid amphipod (parasite)?

  24. Vedran says:

    Hey,I am From Bosnia and Herzegovina,and same question like others,where I can buy jellyfish,and how they ship them to me? Thanks

  25. kattrina says:

    hey guys how much are they

  26. Juliette says:

    Do you ship your Jellies to Canada?

  27. Austen says:

    Is it possible to reproduce moon jelly fish at home with a smallish tank

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Austen, no you need at least a 10 gallon tank to get them big enough to reproduce but the bigger the better and easier it will be. The larger the tank the more stable water quality.

  28. Kailey says:

    Do you know much about the Eon jellyfish tanks? I’ve researched the jellyfishart options and I’m trying to decide which tank is better.

  29. Ken says:

    Hi,

    Where can I get moon jellyfish in California? Jellyfish Art seems to be the only one with stock of them and PBnJellies seem to be sold out quite often.

    Thanks!

  30. David says:

    Hi. Any places in Canada that sell jellies do you know. Would I be able to bring jellies across the u.s boarder with out a permit? Thanks for the work you do.

  31. Niklas says:

    Hi,
    Does anyone know of a seller of jellyfish in Sweden or Denmark?

    Regards
    Niklas

  32. Melissa Vontrap says:

    Where can I buy a jellyfish in the U.S ???

  33. Sarah Bailey says:

    Hi
    Can I feed my moon jellyfish plankton frozen food?
    I heard it’s more nutritioning for the jellies

    Sarah

  34. Marta says:

    Hi, I was wondering… Is there any place you can purchase polyps? Also, is the tank you showed in http://www.jellyfishaquarist.com/diy-jellyfish-aquarium-the-screened-critter-keeper/ suitable to keep full grown moon jellies? And lastly, can you recommend a filter and an airline that are cheap but good quality? Thank you!

  35. deanne says:

    what kind of tank, filter, etc do you need for the jellyfish? can you use a normal fish tank?

  36. donald kievit says:

    I have had my jelly fish for 4 days now and they look good. I bought the Jelly Flap tank. It’s like having a living lava lamp. I also have a salt water aquarium. I used some of that water while I was acclimating . When they came in the mail , they were actually packed with quite a bit of water. I have a feeling it’s going to be trial and error for a while , but I think it will be worth it. There seems to be plenty of help out there. The instructions on the tank set up were poor . I went on Youtube and found a woman who did a step-by-step presentation on the tank set up. good luck to all you jellyfish owners.

  37. Jen says:

    Thanks for all this information! I love watching jellyfish, have put off getting them because the tanks can be so expensive, but may try diying with your instructions.

    I’d love to have some coral in there too. What kind get along with jellyfish well, and where can I learn about taking care of them?

    Once I have the jellyfish and coral both doing well, what else would I need to make a complete mini-ecosystem, and what maintenance would then be required?

  38. Jen says:

    Would any of these coral get along with jellys well? http://www.azfishkeeping.com/content.php?c_id=67
    What about clownfish, betas, and ottos?
    If I had a couple shrimp, would they produce the brine that the jellys need to eat?

    Thanks for maintaining your site!

  39. Michelle says:

    Hi,

    I’m not experienced with jellies, but I have been researching some of the new home tanks and some of the aquatic sites are not recommending these because they come with rocks or gravel which is not good for the delicate jellies. They claim that it tears at their bodies, and they tend to get stuck on these rocks.
    All I’m saying is people need to do research before spending lots of money and time on these beautiful creatures only to see them die in a few months.

  40. Nikki says:

    Is it possible to have box jellyfish in a home tank?

    • Wyatt says:

      The only species I would recommend is Tripedalia because it doesn’t really have a strong sting, other than that I do not recommend keeping box jellies at home. Most only live 1-3 weeks in captivity anyways. Cultured Tripedalia can live for a few months, that’s their lifespan.

  41. Killiking says:

    Thank you for the info, I was just wondering would a 2ft *1*1ft psuedo kriele be ok for housing moon jellies? I am still researching and designing before I purchase so any advise would be greatly appreciated

  42. Elizabeth says:

    If I already have a 15 gallon column aquarium what do I need to change on it to make it for jellyfish? All it has is a hob filter . Thanks

  43. Nolan says:

    Hello,
    I know it is possible to make your own airlift pump but I was wondering if I could go to Petsmart and buy a regular tank and put a jellyfish in there. I live in the US and I really don’t know where to get jellyfish anyway.

  44. Taufeeq says:

    Where can I get jelly fish in India

  45. Taylor McClelland says:

    Hi, I bought the 6 gal. Marineland pillar aquarium kit. I tried to ask around and they said this would work…but i wanted an experts opinion on this. Would this work and where is a good species you request for this tank and how many jellies? Got any recommendations for places in Colorado, USA to buy??

  46. Shel says:

    We are looking at getting your medium and large jellyfish and read that the medium is 2inches; and the large is 3 inches. Will they ever grow larger?

  47. Mie says:

    You say they are seasonal then go one to say they can live 1 – 8 years. Which is it? A season on this planet is about 3 months.

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Mike, jellyfish are seasonal – that is their natural life span in the wild, so measured in months for some jellies, weeks for others(ie hydrozoans). Some jellies can over winter and live for a couple years but most die/are eaten/wash up/senesce etc… In captivity, moon jellies can be kept for 5 years or more because they are not subject to wild conditions.

  48. Niki says:

    A very specific question but unable to find the answer elsewhere on the Internet–I just got my moon jellyfish a few days ago in the Jellyfish Art Nano setup. The first day went great, jellyfish seemed to acclimate, ate well, etc. The last time I fed them, however, they seemed to pick up the food and then in a short while, they almost seemed to regurgitate it and the food started to clump up in the center of the gonads until it fell off. I ordered a saltwater testing kit online but it won’t arrive for another week. Do you know of any possible causes of this? And anything I can do to remedy the situation?

    Thank you very much!

  49. Rachel Hammond says:

    Hi Wyatt,
    I purchased a Cubic Orbit 20 from Glass Ocean and set it up, cycled for 16 days and added my jellyfish yesterday.
    My tank levels are:
    Salinity – 1.025
    Ph – 7.8
    Ammonia – 0
    Nitrite – 0
    Nitrate – 5
    Temp – 20
    After 6 hours, the jellies had stopped pulsing and were just circulating in the tank. I tried feeding them with minimal reaction. They did react to being touched but I’m worried this morning that they are either already dead or won’t last long as they’re still not pulsing and aren’t reacting at all.
    Can you suggest anything at all before it’s too late.
    Thanks.

    • Wyatt says:

      Hi Rachel, your pH was a bit low, should be just above 8.0 ideally. If the jellies arrived active and pulsing then something likely went wrong with your water… did you use tap water to create your saltwater?

  50. Amr says:

    Hi . I live in Egypt and I wanna buy 4 jelly fish. We will put 2 per tank. Do you have any idea how can I get them.
    Thanks in advance

  51. Teri Ruelas says:

    Can they live in fresh water

  52. Sunny says:

    Hi Wyatt!
    Thanks for a great post, we own a aquarium in Korea and was wondering where we could import LARGE amount of small moon jellies. We tried the one in Malysia and Hong Kong, but almost all the products were sold out. Do you know any other places we could get them? Also, any advice will help us greatly! (things we should consider BEFORE importing the jellies and nurturing/selling them)

    Our email is: amyyskim@gmail.com *if you prefer sending your reply using email

  53. Bob-B says:

    Hi, I’m in Australia and I want to buy some cheap but long lasting, good quality pickles and jelly fish. Where can I get the jelly fish from?
    Please answer ASAP as I need them!

  54. Andrea says:

    Hello- How often will a small tank with 3 small jellyfish need to be cleaned?

    Thank you!

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